The Travel Health and Vaccine Specialists

Health Alert


The Hajj 1435/2014 and Umrah

Updated August 18, 2014

Travel Health Notice

The Hajj is the largest annual gathering in the world. Almost three million Muslims attend this spiritual pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The Hajj season will take place this year between approximately October 2 and 7, 2014. Umrah is a similar pilgrimage that can be carried out at any time of the year.

Due to the large number of people at these gatherings, there may be an increased risk for certain infectious diseases such as meningococcal diseaseExternal link, tuberculosisExternal link, influenza,External link and  travellers’ diarrheaExternal link. Travellers should also be aware of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), a virus identified in the Middle East that causes severe respiratory illness. Travellers may also face a greater risk of heat exhaustion, heat stroke and physical injuries.

The Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia has announced that it will not be issuing visas to pilgrims from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for the 2014 Hajj and Umrah due to the active Ebola virus disease External linkoutbreak in these countries.

For more information on safety and security for Canadian travellers, visit the Country Advice and Advisories for Saudi ArabiaExternal link.

The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends that travellers reduce their risk by following the tips listed below.